Data at the Center of Industry 4.0
Data Digital Transformation IoT

Data at the Center of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is already on its way and fast-changing the way manufacturing environments operate. It is the phase of industrial working, where the focus is on interconnectivity, automation, and real-time data. In fact, Industry 4.0 is all about data and data analytics in its finest form, which is why it is also referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

One of the most crucial aspects of this industrial revolution is that the big data gathered from all types of sources creates holistic and interconnected manufacturing, and supply chain management ecosystems. IIoT or smart manufacturing as in Industrial 4.0 offers a comprehensive and interlinked approach to manufacturing using smart digital technology fueled by data. It connects the physical with the digital and enables higher collaboration across departments, products, vendors, partners, and people. Machines and devices interact and learn from each other, make decisions, save time, and enhance quality output. All this is powered by the data being exchanged between these systems.

Data and its use in Industry 4.0 is fast decentralizing production and its distribution processes by combining emerging technologies with business processes, right from product conception to reaching its consumers. Gone are the days of industrial silos and their starring gaps – data and data analytics resolve their issues and introduce the right systems.

How Data is Driving the Industry 4.0 Revolution

Modern manufacturing leaders are better positioned to understand and control every aspect of their operation as they leverage data to improve processes, and boost productivity. Industrial data, analytics, and processes aim at direct goals such as better asset utilization, automation, a collaboration between humans and machines, enhanced maintenance, better quality management, and new production techniques. From robotics to digital twins, additive manufacturing to the development of innovative services, augmented reality to better asset management, it’s data and data analytics all the way!

Technologies of Industrial 4.0 are inseparably tied to the vast amount of raw and unorganized data that is stored, processed, and analyzed. Industrial data is pooled from various sources into a data lake, the raw information is processed using advanced data analytics computations, and insights are derived from predictive analytics. Cognitive Machine Learning processes are used to predict machine or system failures and streamline production processes.

Industry 4.0 strategies powered by data deliver several benefits, such as –

  • Reduced costs
  • Improved productivity
  • Improved operational visibility
  • Greater flexibility and agility
  • Enhanced regulatory compliance
  • Improved innovations
  • Freeing up more time to humans to optimize operations
  • Faster time to market
  • Better employee and customer experiences
  • Higher revenues and increased profitability

Role of data literacy in Industrial 4.0

Business leaders realize that the volume and velocity of data are of no use unless a majority of the workforce can make data-driven decisions. Traditionally, companies had teams of data analysts and data scientists to support their data initiatives. But as the importance of data in decision-making started increasing, company leaders recognized the criticality of giving access to data-driven insights to more people, i.e. the subject matter experts, business leaders, and the people on the shop floor – also called the Citizen Data Scientists.

However, just providing access to data and tools to the Citizen Data Scientists is not the solution to the problem. These people, who are non-technical people, need to be trained to read and work with data. They need to be made Data Literate. They need to be trained on skills to process, assess, analyze, interpret and use the data insights in their everyday work. They need to be made aware of the positive changes it could bring in their work and the impact it can create.

In today’s highly dynamic business world powered by technology, scaling business performance means optimizing both technology and people in parallel, training and enabling them for the current and upcoming changes. Only organizations with robust data skills are likely to leverage maximum benefits from this industrial revolution called Industry 4.0. Not everyone is expected to become a data scientist. However, it is important for individuals to understand what goes behind the creation of insights resulting from machines and data. Top performers are going to be those that will be able to blend data skills, creative insights, and analytical thinking to fuel decision making.

Ensuring Industry 4.0 Success

Industry 4.0 is blurring the line between the physical and digital spheres. Data is what fuels and drives the 4.0 movement. It is helping manufacturing companies and businesses become smarter, digitized, connected, and agile. Analysis of Big Data is fundamental in enabling smart factories and their systems capable of remodeling on the fly. But empowering the people to work with the data is what will really ensure the success of this.

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